There are perhaps only a very few places on the planet which can claim their ancient value and contribution to modern knowledge of early ages, to be even close to the Great Pyramids of Egypt. They are not only the countries face to the whole outer world but also contribute majorly to its economy being the most visited tourist spots, as the Egyptian economy is greatly dependent on tourism.
They are not just magnificent to the eyes but also have evoked innumerable human emotions, thoughts and ideas till date since the day their foundations were laid. Where only a few bigger pyramids are famous around the world, there actually are more than 100 of varied pyramids across Egypt, most of which are located near Cairo. The final exploration has not yet begun and even after so many years new pyramids are frequently being discovered.
To say that the construction of these magnificent pieces of art is brilliant would always be an understatement. Each pyramid though commonly possessing the architectural style was distinct in itself and designed extremely intricately. Most of them were laid with carvings, elaborate passages and secret chambers. The Great Pyramids were built to be aligned with the four centres of the world Egyptians, who were so adept at their work and diligent to their ambition that they completed a work of such enormity in relatively less time given they had absolutely no modern technology to utilize. The gasp of amazement when one stands at the feet of these great structures is one mutual feeling amongst almost all the visitors and one can see the astonishment in fellow travellers’ eyes too.
Where general tourist visit only a couple of more famous pyramids, other who are really interested in history and architecture may visit many more; but visiting all the pyramids may not be advisable as some of them are no more than very small hills which in no way look man-made.
All the standard tours offered by almost all the tour operators include a few great pyramids, a ride on the Nile, visiting museums and other heritage sites. These include the greatest and the most famous Pyramid Of Giza and the Giza plateau. It is the countries single biggest tourist attraction. Due to insensitive harm caused to the pyramids by people’s actions of scribbling or chipping at them the entry now is strictly regulated with a few of the great pyramids staying close while others open for a particular season. The operators are no more allowed to book tickets for clients and each person has to take his/her ticket individually, thus arriving as an early bird is often recommended as only 150 people are allowed each morning and evening. The climb inside the pyramids is not really user-friendly and may be difficult for aged and people with disabilities.
After the Giza plateau next in line is the Saqqara (Sakkara), comprising of a tour of the Step Pyramid complex of Djoser. This pyramid out-dates all the other pyramids and is presumed to be the first pyramid to be built in Egypt. Another pyramid field in proximity to Cairo is Dahshur which may not be available in tours of all the operators.
A hurried trip to Giza would almost always leave many other important establishments such as historical mosques, toms and other site of great architecture and history ignored. The restricted area of Saqqara has many more pyramids which might not be as visually appealing as their other siblings but are very important bookmark in the ‘book-of-development-of-pyramid’, some of which are the Unas and Teti pyramids built during the early years of the 6th dynasty.
The region around Cairo is a true pyramid lover’s paradise with the whole area dotted with pyramids of various sizes. The truly interested people visit even the smaller ones most of which are free for visitors.
The overall climate of Egypt is hot and dry year round and the best time to visit is between October and may when it is not too hot. Light cotton clothes are advised and people instructed to dress in layers to protect them from the harsh sun of Egypt, sunglasses are a must.
Cairo is well connected to many major parts of the world, including London, Dubai, New York, Kuwait etc., by air and flights directly land here. Internal railways is also an option for many people to travel around within the country, these connect all the major cities to Cairo. Renting a car and taxis are some options to move around in the vicinity.
Taamiya is one of the most favourite dish of the locals whereas Shwarma is a marinated lamb served with salad. Fuul means ‘beans’ and is served in many ways, usually with onions, tomato and spices. Baba Ganush is made from pureed grilled aubergine and is served with pitta bread at most meals.
Alcohol is available in most tourist locations in Egypt and around Cairo but one should be careful as bringing in more than 2 litres of petrol is prohibited in Egypt and the legal age of drinking is as high as 21 years.
Egypt is not foe those who love only adventure but for those for whom every mention of ancient culture and early history is an adventure in itself.